Thunderbird Owners of New York
Member, Classic Thunderbird Club International Chapter 49
Thunderbird Club of New York is a Long Island based club who are dedicated to preservation and restoration of the 1955 thru 1957 Thunderbirds. We encourage new members to join and enjoy the benefits of belonging to a structured organization for this purpose. As a club we participate in many shows, cruise nights and charitable events throughout the year. Our Club was founded in 1972 and is a chartered member of Classic Thunderbird Club International (C.T.C.I.) Over the years we have grown to over 90 members, most of whom have "Little Bird's" on the road today. We continue to grow every year by attending shows and/or cruise nights and meet others with similar interests as ours. Thunderbird Owners of New York and the Long Island Thunderbird Club participate in annual events in support of our selected cause "Building Homes for Heroes”.
The 1955-57 Ford Thunderbirds are among the most recognized iconic American car on the road today. It has been seen in television shows, movies and countless print advertisements, not to mention being pictured on a U.S. postage stamp.
The story goes that the Thunderbird two-seater was built because Ford division general manager Lewis Crusoe was admiring European autos at the 1951 Paris auto show with Ford designer George Walker.
The Chevy Corvette from General Motors was the only sports car from a big domestic automakers in the early 1950s. It arrived late in 1953 and GM didn't hesitate to call it a sports car.
But, in contrast, the 1955 Thunderbird had a tight steel body with smooth, clean, youthful lines and rakish long-hood/short-deck proportions.
The new Thunderbird came with a standard removable hard top or optional, soft top--or both. It even was offered with a push-button radio.
Powering the 1955 T-Bird was a V-8 from Ford Motor's Mercury division. The 292-cubic-inch engine generated 193 horsepower with a three-speed manual transmission and 198 with the Ford-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission. Now this was an engine Americans could appreciate.
The 1956 model had a "continental" spare tire put outside in a rear metal case because it occupied too much trunk space. The spare not only greatly improved trunk room, it also shifted weight slightly to the rear and improved the car's good balance.
Ford didn't want to mess much with success, so the 1956 Thunderbird had the same styling as its predecessor. However, its ventilation was improved and the ride was made more comfortable.
The horsepower race was on, so power of the base engine was raised to 202 with the manual transmission and a larger 312-cubic-inch V-8 was added. It produced 215 horsepower with the manual gearbox and 225 with the automatic transmission.
The 1957 Thunderbird was arguably the best 1950s T-Bird two-seater. It had a new combination front bumper/grille and longer rear end, which again enclosed the spare tire. Rear fenders had modest canted fins and a new instrument panel which sported gauges that were nestled under a cowl.
Ford sold a modern retro-style Thunderbird two-seater from 2002 through 2005 that resembled the 1955-57 models. While decent, it was just moderately successful. It's often impossible to match an original.
The Ford Thunderbird remains a car that has wide appeal for all those who see them on the road or parked at a show. The Thunderbird Owners of New York wants to insure the legacy of this iconic American sports car lives on; we welcome you to join us in this passion.
May 2023 Club Meeting
Bethpage Public Library
47 Powell Ave, Bethpage, NY 11714
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2023 Classic Car Calendar of Events
All events are subject to change so please call contact phone # for more or exact details
We would like to hear from you so feel free to send us an e mail.